Both you and your cousin were very eccentric, and very gay, people. When she invited you to join a server for “analyzing film and literature”, you readily accepted, and the two of you went on to write many homoerotic interpretations of the texts you discussed with few thorns in your side. But there was also a secondary function to the server: unmitigated gossip.
Today, you were greeted by the latter.
ecto: hey guys, look at this text my cousin just sent me:
I dont think theres anything wrong with groovy as a word! Or smashing!
I dont sound “old and dumb” you rude little scoundrel!!!
*crosses my arms and scowls at you*
ecto: don’t get me wrong, i love him but this is stupid and he is stupid.
Timaeus: This guy sounds almost exactly like my ex-bf/current bff. Tell me more.
ecto: oh my god, two of them. i’ll dm you!
Timaeus: I wait with bated breath for your message, Ecto.
You’d never talked to Ecto one-on-one before. Honestly, you found him obnoxious and ridiculously obtuse most of the time (ecto: wait...those girls in sailor moon were gay? I thought they were cousins…), but the concept of another person on the planet having the same mannerisms as Jake had piqued your interest. Your eyes glued themselves to his name in your direct messages.
ecto: my cousin is the weirdest fake old-timey dude.
ecto: i am honestly still processing being called a scoundrel?
Timaeus: My ex has called me a scoundrel many, many times. Largely due to my scoundrel-like actions, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to say that the number would be zero had he never been in a tragic accident as a child that turned him into a living anachronism.
ecto: ha! it is very sad what happened to that time travel research lab that day. all those time waves just zooming around the world confusing weird kids so they say shit like scoundrel and tally ho.
Timaeus: Your guy says tally-ho too? Are we positive this isn’t the same guy? What are the chances there are two people alive that say tally-ho without a shred of irony?
Timaeus: Also, we should assign them code names so we aren’t stuck saying my ex/your cousin and my guy/your guy.
Timaeus: I’m calling him Bernie.
ecto: what like sanders???
Timaeus: Yes, exactly.
Timaeus: No, not really, it’s after his favorite movie.
ecto: weekend at bernie’s?!
Timaeus: Don’t tell me,
Timaeus: That’s your cousin’s favorite movie as well?
ecto: it is!!! he loves it!!!
Timaeus: Wow. That doubles the known WaB fandom.
ecto: isn’t there a scene in that movie where a woman has sex with the dead guy?
Timaeus: Yes. I have yet to look into who put their necrophilia kink into this D-list comedy, but one of these days I will make it a priority.
ecto: ok we can talk about what a weirdo you are later, let’s focus on the other weird guys we know! I’m going to call my cousin uhhhh…
ecto: guns. because he likes guns.
Timaeus: Is it pistols? Bernie loves his pistols.
Timaeus: “*Double pistols and a wink!*” Is how he appends any flirtatious or self-aggrandizing messages. It’s charming, I won’t lie, but so fuckin’ dorky.
ecto: guns would so say something dumb like that. i bet that is exactly how he wooed his weird boyfriend who doesn’t ever talk, through text role play.
ecto: i think they have a secret fight club?
ecto: except it is not actually a secret because we all know about it, so it is fight club but with out the first two rules, and also it is called fisticuffs when he says it.
Timaeus: Fisticuffs, you say. That’s very odd. And such a specific term.
ecto: yeah! and that is not even the weirdest thing about him at all!
ecto: i think he might have a fetish for girls who are blue?
Your stomach has dropped straight through the floor right on into hell. There is simply no way this is all coincidental, there cannot be a second Jake English running around, so you must face a scarier thought--You have met Ecto before. He knows you, knows your face, knows your ex, and he thinks you two are still dating.
Cold sweat drips down your neck as your tap meticulously on your keyboard, forming the perfect reply:
Timaeus: How coincidental. My bro bernie has a ‘blue dame’ kink as well. How very uncanny that you should mention that.
Panic gripped you, holding you to the screen. Like a burning building, you could not pull your gaze from it, even as time ticked by. Ecto is writing… flashed before you on and off as the minutes passed, but still you were left waiting for his reply again and again. You could not even wipe your brow, the tension held you so rigid.
ecto: you wouldn’t happen to look like a hot anime man who dresses in really bad clothes, would you?
[You have blocked ecto.]
Timaeus vanished offline as soon as you sent that message, and that really only leaves you with one conclusion to draw: he’s Jake’s boyfriend??
Well, ex-boyfriend, you suppose. Wow. You had no idea about that! This is all just hitting you like a ton of realization bricks from a construction material consciousness rain. There are so many things totally clear to you now.
Like that Jake definitely has a blue lady fetish. Ew. Why is that of all things what “gets his jollies” or something equally silly and old-timey?
Wait, now you know things about Dirk you didn’t know before! You have personally been the victim of a 2-day long analysis about how the Babadook is gay between him and Rose. You couldn’t say two things that whole time. And he might think puppets are sexy? And jesus fucking christ, the ass fixation. Like, dude, we get it, you like guys’ asses!
Oh, you were so happy thinking he was just shy and socially awkward. The days of your innocent naivete are gone now, and in their stead is the hardened maturity of a man who knows too much about someone who was almost a perfect stranger the day before. All you knew was that he seemed uncomfortable speaking around you.
You feel like you really messed up here and you have no idea why.
A week passes, and Dirk/Timaeus stays offline. You’ve accepted that he’s likely blocked you, but it stings a little that you don’t really have any way to apologize or bridge the gap. But then, out of the blue, you see him again.
“Hey, John! I invited Dirk over for the movie; I hope that’s alright with you,” Jake greets you on a Friday night as he ushers you into his living room. “I have to go get snacks for several minutes so you fellas will just have to talk to each other for a bit.” He wags his eyebrows at the two of you as he backs up through the doorway into the kitchen.
Not sure what might be better, you plop down on the couch next to Dirk. Tension is radiating off of him in waves, and he’s more stiff and uncomfortable looking than you’ve ever seen him. You aren’t sure how to fix this because you aren’t sure what might be wrong.
You wonder what your dad would do if he was still around. He used to take you aside and ask in this really calm voice what was wrong whenever you had meltdowns as a kid. Trying your best to channel that calm voice, you ask him what’s the matter.
“Dirk, did I do something wrong?”
He’s still stiff as a corpse beside you, but you can hear him exhale. Half-way tilting towards you, he replies, “No.”
“If I did something that upset you, it’s cool for you to tell me. You are kind of a weird guy, but I did not want to make you uncomfortable. I’m sorry.”
Your approach has failed spectacularly. Dirk turns away from you faster than the space-time continuum should allow and hunches his shoulders so tight you think they’ve fused into his neck. But he does talk to you.
“I didn’t. Know that it was you. Just caught me by surprise. Sorry for blocking you,” he says in his low murmur of a speaking voice. You wonder if he does that on purpose to sound kind of sexy and mysterious before remembering that you are supposed to be making amends.
“Are you sure that’s all? You still seem pretty upset.” You scoot a little closer to him, placing a firm and hopefully re-assuring hand on his shoulder. He flinches, and you start to pull away, but then he settles into it, almost like he’s seeking it out.
“You deliberately called me hot.”
“I meant it as a compliment? I was not trying to flirt or--”
He turns like lightning again and plants a kiss on your cheek. His gaze presumably lingers on you (not like you can tell through those shades), and then he seems to panic and dashes out the door.
Jake returns not a second too soon. He glances around the room and asks, “Where the hell did Dirk run off to?”
You can only shrug as you snatch the plate of nachos from his arms. You guess he is just a weird, hot guy with very soft lips and a mysterious, sexy voice. A guy who will hopefully unblock you on discord so you can ask him what the hell that was about.